The Hyundai driver will take a 1.2s lead over M-Sport’s Ott Tanak heading into Friday’s six asphalt levels within the Czech Republic.
Tanak had assumed an early rally lead after successful Thursday’s opening 2.55km tremendous particular held round a racecourse in Prague.
However the Estonian was unable to carry onto the benefit when the rally headed to its second tremendous particular stage of the day, Klatovy, 8.92km.
Held in darkness, Neuville accomplished the 2 loops of the Klatovy take a look at, 2.2s sooner than Tanak to leap from third into the rally lead.
“It was not the best stage. I don’t know in regards to the tyres – I feel I used to be in between the moist and the smooth, and I made a decision to go smooth on the final minute,” mentioned Neuville.
“The anti-cut gadgets have been reflecting from the lights so that you couldn’t see very nicely, however we had a clear run by.”
Tanak felt he struggled to generate enough temperature in his smooth tyres however nonetheless managed to clock a time sooner than remainder of the Rally1 area.
Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images
Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Workforce Ford Puma Rally1
Championship chief Kalle Rovanpera was third on the stage, 2.9s in arrears, though the trouble was sufficient to see the Finn climb to fourth general, with eight-time world champion Toyota team-mate Sebastian Ogier forward in third general by a tenth of a second.
Ogier admitted he struggled to search out “the sensation” in his GR Yaris, dropping 6.1s within the course of. The Frenchman posted the fifth-quickest time behind the recovering Hyundai of Esapekka Lappi, who copped a 10s penalty for leaping the beginning in stage one. The Finn will begin Friday in ninth general.
Title contender Elfyn Evans was ninth quickest on the stage as he shipped 7.8s following a pricey overshoot at proper junction.
Evans, who must outscore team-mate Rovanpera to extend the title combat to a deciding spherical in Japan, will begin Saturday 10.7s away from the lead, sitting in eighth general.
“I had an overshoot at one of many junctions, simply locked up at one of many braking zones so it is a disgrace for that,” mentioned Evans.
M-Sport’s Gregoire Munster accomplished the highest 10 on the stage forward of high WRC2 runner Yohan Russell. Within the battle for the WRC2 title, Toksport Skoda’s Gus Greensmith ended stage two third at school and forward of rival and team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen.